How to Prevent Transference from Ruining Your Relationship

Not everyone understands the word “transference”, but this concept appears frequently in relationships. Transference in relationships causes certain people to repeat spousal abuse history, fall in love with toxic people, or fail to form an intimacy with their spouses. Understanding this concept will help you to take the first step in preventing it from ruining your efforts to form a healthy relationship.

Definition of Transference

The term “transference” started to emerge during the rise of psychoanalysis. It refers to a redirection of sentiment, feeling, or emotion experienced in the past to object or person at the present day. This term used to be popular among therapists, who used it to describe the “connection” that happens between therapist and client.

Now, transference has become a popular term to describe past psychological baggage, which affects current relationships. Transference causes someone to projects his or her past experiences to the current condition. Think about the times you heard words such as, “Don’t treat me like I’m your mother”, or “My abuse at the hands of my father made me afraid of connecting seriously with men”.

Transference may have a positive impact to form familiarity when connecting with new people. However, when there is much negative psychological baggage, transference can prevent you from creating a full, meaningful relationship.

Forms of Negative Transference in Relationship

There are several negative transferences one may experience in a relationship. They are:

  • Excessive idealization

Idealization happens when you are trying to “fill the gap” between what you know about a potential partner and his/her actual personality by creating an overly-ideal image. For example, if your father is cold, you may imagine a potential man as a “protective knight” or surrogate affection source.

  • Negative projection

If you have a lot of anger or bitterness from past experiences, you may project them on your loved one. For example, if your parents were demanding and authoritative, you may lash out to your loved one when he/she does not follow your high “standard”.

  • Avoidance

Excessive fear toward relationship can happen if a person is traumatic about a bad relationship. This can happen to a person from a broken home or those who got out of an abusive relationship.

  • Oedipal-type transference

This transference type describes people who fall in love with others who resemble their parents (father or mother). While it is not wrong, it can cause you to neglect your partner’s true personality when experienced in excessive level.

These negative transferences can affect relationships in many ways. They may reduce the quality of communication between couples. They can also make people act disproportionately when facing problems with their mates. You must solve your unfinished business or past burden to prevent transference from ruining your relationship.

First Step: Recognizing Transference Signs

How do you know when transference happens? If you are in a relationship, pay attention to signs like these:

  • Obsession toward a relationship, regardless of damages or unending conflicts
  • Persistent demands to change other people to fit expectations
  • Inexplicable repulsion or attraction toward someone, often not based on reality
  • Disappointment from drastic differences between fantasy and reality
  • Making every behavior or word from someone else as a personal thing
  • Strong emotions (positive or negative) when your partner says or does something specific

By recognizing these signs, you understand that you project your past to current relationship. The best action is to find professional and social support that can give outsider’s perspective. They are also helpful when your relationship is toxic and requiring intervention.

Tips to Deal with Transference in Relationships

If your relationship is toxic and causing you (or your partner) to receive abuse, consider asking for help in breaking it. However, if the transference happens in a relationship that can still be fixed, you and your partner can work on it. Here are several tips to stop projecting the past and start focusing on the now:

  • Conduct reality check on your transference

Make the cause of your transference clear by asking an honest question, such as “Who my partner resembles?” Write down the question and the answer in a journal. Give detailed descriptions of things that make them similar. It will provide written proof of your transference cause.

  • Ask your partner about his/her feeling

Sit down with your partner and ask about how he/she feels about you. Ask your partner to be honest about certain acts or words that make them feel unappreciated, misunderstood, blamed, forcibly changed, or other negative feelings.

  • Face your past

Go through memory lane and find out more about what you lack in the past. It may be affection, affirmation, attention, appreciation, or the combination of all. You may need to discuss this with family members or talk with a therapist, because your memories or repression may cloud your judgment.

Once this problem is realized, try visiting a couple therapist with your spouse. If your relationship is worth saving, you must work together to solve the transference problem.

Transference in relationships causes people to see their partners or connections in unrealistic ways. Recognize this problem to have a healthier, more realistic relationship goal.

5 Steps to Fall Out of Love and Heal Your Broken Heart

Many people welcome the feeling of falling in love, but they don’t always know how to fall out of love. Unable to let go the person you love is difficult because it stops you to find a better option. What if you fall in love with an abusive person, or someone who doesn’t appreciate you?

Falling out of love can be hurtful, and you may face psychological difficulties in letting go. However, taking slow but sure steps will help you release the burdening emotion. Once you let go, you are free to explore other options, or simply heal and relax.

Here are five steps to take if you want to fall out of love.

1. Find social supports

Taking the first step to “let go” can make you feel vulnerable. Finding reliable support is necessary at this point. The support can be your family members or friends you can trust. Be honest with them and say that you need support, encouragement, and strength to go through this.

Some people may be afraid to go through mental hurdles when they need to deliver bad news. However, once you pass this step, your loved ones will be willing to help. They may also know the best way to help since they have fresh “outsider perspectives”.

2. Remove all the reminders

Physically removing all reminders of your relationship or love toward the person can help you heal faster. They can be his or her belongings, love letters, photographs, or social media connections. If you still need their contacts for formal purposes (such as work), keep work email address and the main phone number.

If the process is too hard, ask your friends or family members to help. Ask them to send or deliver your ex’s belongings. Have them with you when you are erasing photographs and removing social media connections. These acts create physical symbols of “falling out of love”.

3. Ask for professional help

If you try to fall out of love after an abusive relationship, consider visiting a professional. There are several cases why cutting off personal feeling requires professional help. They are:

  • Abusive relationship

An abusive relationship is harmful, but some people with the twisted idea of love find it hard to leave their abusers. You need to break the state of mind that keeps you from leaving the abusive person. Professionals such as psychiatrist or psychologist will help you look at the reality better.

  • Separation by death

Death is inevitable, but it can happen when you are not ready. Bereavement can cause psychological problems if you cannot handle it well, especially if the deceased person is someone you love. Professionals will help you going through the tough times, which is important if you plan to have a new relationship in the future.

  • Existing psychological problems

If you have an existing psychological problem, such as depression or bipolar disorder, being dumped/left/abused by a loved one can make it worse. Professionals know the best strategy to prevent you from falling deeper into your symptoms.

Professionals keep your information private and offer a nonjudgmental view, so don’t feel self-conscious about asking for their help.

4. Focus on “the present”

It is easy to drown in nostalgia or daydream about far-fetched possibilities. However, they will prevent you from falling out of love. Keeping your perspective in the “present” is important to erase the love burden completely. There are several ways to do it, for example:

  • Take guided meditation or yoga class

Yoga and guided meditation teach you to center your mind and release pressure. Connecting your breath and muscles with your mind can also help to remind you to be “present”.

  • Take scheduled walk

The rhythmic pace of walking can help “connecting” your mind with body movement, creating a sense of real presence. Walking in a scenic route or casual spots (such as in the park or neighborhood street) can also bring your mind to the real world.

  • Write a goodbye letter to your ex/unrequited love

Create a symbolic goodbye by writing a letter to your ex or unrequited love. Explain things that made you love him/her, along with all the hurts you experience. Be honest about what you really feel before ending the letter with goodbye words. Rip the letter apart or burn it as a physical symbol of goodbye.

By focusing on the “now”, you can feel confident enough to leave your old “love”. You are free to continue your life, find a new person, or just heal.

5. Take care of yourself

Finally, after all the ordeals, you have the right to relax and treat yourself. Start doing things you love, such as reading favorite novels, cooking, gardening, or making crafts. Take time for leisure, such as going to the spa or shopping. Try something you always want to do, such as traveling, having a pet, or something as simple as trying a new restaurant.

Falling in love may be beautiful, but there are times when leaving it is the best option, especially if it damages you. Knowing how to fall out of love is important to help you heal and facing the future.